Jakob Ganslmeier
born May 4, 1990, Munich
based in Berlin and The Hague

Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie Berlin
FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences - Photography
MA programme Photography & Society KABK
Co-Founder and permanent member of editorial team of FOG - documentaries dispersed (
Co-Founder and permanent member of Apparat (

©Jan Düfelsiek

awards, grants, residencies

2022 BBK Berlin Neustart Grant
2021 shortlisted Kassel Dummy Award
2021 ProfiFoto Young Talents Award
2020 Blow Up Press | shortlisted
2020 Getxophoto | shortlisted
2018 Lotto Foundation Young Talent Artprize
2018 Studio Vortex Residency, Arles
2018 Borderline Project | Exhibition, Residency
2017 Photomatch, Fotofestiwal Lodz, Poland
2017 shortlisted Joop Swaart Masterclass
2016 pariticipant of the NITs of the DOCfield>16 festival Barcelona, Spain
2016 shortlisted for the Kolga Photo Award 2016 Tbilisi, Georgia
2016 nominated for Joop Swaart Masterclass
2015 European Exhibition Award (Epea 03) / scholarship, exhibition, catalogue
2015 winner of competition "Blickkontakte" - Magazin Photopresse
2014 mobile residency in Eastern Europe
2013 Aenne Biermann Preis
2012 Hil Award solo exhibitions, catalogue


2023 If a Tree Fell in a Forest | Documentationcenter Bergen-Belsen
2023 Poetry Is Out of Place | Kreismuseum Wewelsburg
2023 Lovely Planet: Poland | BWA Galeria, Zielona Gora, Poland
2023 Trigger | Kulturmarkthalle
2022 Poetry Is Out of Place | Comanders House Falstad Centre
2022 Poetry Is Out of Place | Zwickau
2022 Haut, Stein | Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków (MOCAK)
2022 Lovely Planet: Polen | Parliament of Brandenburg
2022 Haut, Stein | Fotograf Festival Prague | Fotograf Gallery 
2022 Haut, Stein| Fotograf Festival Prague | VI PER
2022 Lovely Planet: Polen | BLMK Frankfurt Oder
2022 Haut, Stein | NS Documentationcenter Cologne
2021 Haut, Stein | Stéphane Hessel Platz, Weimar
2021 Haut, Stein | Nordhausen
2021 Haut, Stein | Villa Heinrichwerk, Ostritz
2021 Bygone Nearby | Arsenal, Kiev, Ukraine (postponed)
2021 Thread | Royal College of Art, The Hague
2021 Lovely Planet: Poland | Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst, Cottbus
2020 Haut, Stein |Bastion Kronprinz Zitadelle Spandau
2020 Haut, Stein | Museum of modern Art, Krakow (postponed to 2022)
2020 Haut, Stein | Installation in the permanent exhibition Zitadelle Spandau
2020 Bygone, Nearby | Online Exhibition (
2020 Parts-Unknown | online
2020 Displaced Heritage, Goethe Institut Kiew (online) exhibition postponed to 2021
2019 100 Years Bauhaus | Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst (state museum of modern Art), Cottbus
2019 Die Anderen sind wir | Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst (state museum of modern Art), Cottbus
2019 Neo-Right | BWA Galeria, Zielona Gora, Poland
2019 Haut, Stein | Werkschau, FH Bielefeld
2019 Borderline Project | Palace, Brussels, Belgium
2019 Borderline Project | European University, Frankfurt (Oder)
2019 Borderline Project | Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin
2018 Lovely Planet: Poland (solo) | Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst (state museum of modern Art), Cottbus
2018 Lovely Planet: Poland, Passerelle, Trigger (solo) | Villa Böhm, Neustädter Kunstverein (art association)
2018 Lotto Brandenburg Kunstpreis | Kunstraum Potsdam
2018 Lovely Planet: Poland (solo) | Westwendischer Kunstverein (art association)
2018 Artist Residency Exhibition by Studio Vortex | Gallerie Voiss Off Arles, Frankreich
2018 Borderline Project | Club der polnischen Versager Berlin
2018 Stadt Raum Portrait | aff Gallery, Berlin
2018 Triennale of Photography, Hamburg | FHBFG Container
2018 Lumix Festival Hannover | FHBFG Container
2017 Epea 03 (European Exhibition Award) House of Photography | Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
2017 Epea 03 (European Exhibition Award) Nobel Peace Center, Oslo Norwegen
2017 Biennale Le latitudini dell'arte Genova, Italy
2017 Deutscher Jugendfotopreis, vhs-Galerie, Konstanz
2017 Wiesbaden Days of Photography, Art House Wiesbaden
2017 Deutscher Jugendfotopreis Forum Gestaltung, Magdeburg
2017 Fotowettbewerb der Hoepfner-Stiftung, Industrie- und Handelskammer, Karlsruhe
2016 Epea 03 (European Exhibition Award) Villa Argentina / Viareggio, Italy
2016 Epea 03 (European Exhibition Award) Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian / Paris, France
2016 BUDE BETT BARGELD / LICHT UNSERER TAGE Ruhrtriennale Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, Germany
2016 European Month of Photography at Mein Blau - FOG documentaries dispersed
2016 "Clearly Ambiguous" at SMAC Gallery, Berlin
2015 FOG excerpts, Kunsthalle Hannover
2015 Deutscher Jugendfoto-Preis, Deutsche Historisches Museum, Berlin
2015 Keep Your Eyes Peeled, AFF Gallerie, Berlin
2014 Vice-Versa-Gallery, Berlin
2014 SEZ - Abschlussausstellung Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie, Berlin
2013 Aenne Biermann Preis, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Gera
2013 Projektraum, Berlin
2013 dkw. Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus
2013 Goethe Institut Zagreb / Kroatien, Gallery Principij, Rijeka
2013 Photographic Museum of Humanity
2013Heinrich Böll Stiftung (solo), Berlin
2013 Synagoge Deidesheim (solo)
2013 Hohenstauffensaal (solo), Anweiler
2012 centre d'art passerelle, Brest / France
2011 Galerie Baustelle, Berlin
2010 Paraty em Foco, Paraty / Brazil

clients and publications

Süddeutsche Magazin
Süddeutsche Online
FOAM Magazine
DUMMY Magazine
Green Peace Magazine
Elbphilharmonie Magazine
Akzente Magazin
Photo Presse
Zeit Online
Monopol Magazin
Die Welt am Sonntag Kompakt
Münchener Kammerorchester / Munich Chamber Orchestra
Welt Online
Bavarian State Ministry
Forberg Schneider Foundation
Kunstverein Tiergarten Berlin
Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin

If a Tree Fell in a Forest

If a tree fell in a forest and nobody was around to hear it, did it actually make a sound? Following this philosophical thought experiment, the multi-screen video installation If a Tree Fell in a Forest provokes the question of whether perpetratorship we are not aware of matters.

In a time of growing right-wing extremism, A Mirrored Image, Redpilled and 77 Circles deal with ignorance, the accessibility of perpetrator narratives, as well as generational and cultural gaps.

Written and directed by Jakob Ganslmeier & Ana Zibelnik
Animation by Oddkin
Sound by Daniel Hermann-Collini

Redpilled is a story about the spread of alt-right ideology and its close correlation with the global rise of meme culture. Told from the perspective of Wojak (lit. soldier)— a hugely popular meme character known for its versatile ability to lend itself to a number of human stereotypes – the work delves into the dangerous humour and fascination with violence perpetuated by memes. Throughout the work, references are made to recent terror attacks, such as the Christchurch shooting, drawing a direct connection between the seemingly harmless online environment of nihilism and its violent ‘real-life’ consequences.
If meme humour seems innocent at a first glance, it is because it is designed to. Kickstarting mildly racist, misogynist and antisemitic jokes prepares the ground for ideas seen as extreme to slowly enter mainstream political discourse. Through their massive appeal to younger generations, memes are increasingly being used as a gateway drug — an effective tool for spreading elements of alt-right ideology.
The term meme (from the Greek mimema, ‘imitated’) was first introduced in 1976 by the British biologist Richard Dawkins, who thought of memes as the cultural parallel to biological genes, in control of their own reproduction. Their comic element is established around a fixed set of characters such as Wojak, Pepe the Frog, Doge, Overly Attached Girlfriend, or Trollface. Like memes themselves, these characters undergo continuous evolution. Wojak, a character drawn using Microsoft Paint, was initially launched as a relatable ‘I know that feel, bro’ guy with a warm facial expression, and it evolved over time to include the categories of doomer, zoomer and boomer. Although these all parody their respective generations of Millennials, Gen-Z and Baby boomers, the narratives are generally told from the perspective of doomers with a dismissive attitude towards boomers, as epitomized in the expression ‘ok boomer’. A doomer, typically male, is the archetype of nihilism and despair. He is a victim of different hardships with a fatalist attitude towards global issues such as climate change and overpopulation. His common fantasy is to rise above the ‘normies’ after being enlightened or ‘redpilled’. This expression, which originated on the anonymous 4chan imageboard website, is a reference to the 1999 movie The Matrix. Shortly after its first appearance, it was adopted by far-right political subcultures, gradually coming to mean that a person has been disillusioned about reality, often radicalised in some way.

77 Circles

Directed by Jakob Ganslmeier
Voice by Ana Zibelnik
Camera by Jakob Ganslmeier and Ana Zibelnik
Edited by Ana Zibelnik and Jakob Ganslmeier
Sound by Daniel Hermann-Collini
Text edited by Isabel Fargo Cole, Jaka Gercar

Deforesting the area where a commander’s house stood is a violent act. After the British Army burned down the concentration camp buildings in 1945 to prevent the spread of diseases, nature started to reclaim the camp. With the exception of the commander’s house, the Bergen-Belsen grounds were made visible again between 2007 and 2011 as immense, open fields in a forest, often surrounded by NATO cannon roar. Nearly eight decades after the war, the bare ground on which the commander’s house once stood is in the process of being made accessible to the public too. At the request of the artist Jakob Ganslmeier, Bundeswehr reservists felled the trees in one of the first camp sections formerly associated with the perpetrators. The clearing resembles a giant wound. Can the discourse that this act provokes ever turn it into a healing scar?

What does the nothingness of this blank space tell us? Like the reservists who cut them down, the trees bore witness not to the crimes committed by the Nazis, but to a long silence in the period that followed. It is this silence that the blaring noise of the motor saws breaks so radically.

Talking about perpetrators is a disturbing and uncomfortable process that doesn’t necessarily bring relief. But refusing to acknowledge that there were perpetrators, and that without them there would be no victims, can only lead to an incomplete image of the camp’s history. 77 Circles may not offer an understanding of the place by means of projection — filling in the blanks— but it acknowledges its mere existence and attempts to make perpetrators part of the memorial’s experience and history at large.